1 March 2004
[tv] History Today — archive of sketches from the Mary White House Experience … [via Green Fairy]

‘RN: You see that Theo Kojak? That’s you, that is.

DB: {spits} See that bit of flob?

RN: Yes.

DB: That’s you, that is.

RN: No, that’s your swimming pool in your garden.’

[politics] Downing Street Says… — blogging daily lobby briefings from Downing Street … From a Q&A with Tony Blair: ‘I’m not going to comment on the work that our security services do. No Prime Minister has done that. I’m not going to comment on it. Do not take that as an indication that the allegations that were made by Clare Short this morning are true. Simply understand, I am not going to comment on the operations of our security services.’ [via Tom Watson]
2 March 2004
[comics] Comics Weblog Updates — which comics weblogs have updated recently. [via Neilalien]
[mobiles] Mobiles sound on the Underground and London tube gets mobile access‘LU will trial mobile access in one or two deep-level stations to judge customer demand. The company stresss that this is unlikely to be a big money spinner, and it will be guided by the wishes of its customers.’ [via 2lmc]
3 March 2004
[comics] 5 Questions for Dave Sim — Q&A from ADD Blog‘The prime creative engine — at least until I discovered God — was the awareness that anything less than actually finishing the 300 issues would make the book a failure. Literally, “300 or Bust.”‘
4 March 2004
[quote] Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72: ‘On page 39 of California Living magazine I found a hand-lettered ad from the McDonald’s Hamburger Corporation, one of Nixon’s big contributors in the ’72 presidential campaign: PRESS ON, it said. NOTHING IN THE WORLD CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF PERSISTENCE. TALENT WILL NOT: NOTHING IS MORE COMMON THAN UNSUCESSFUL MEN WITH TALENT. GENIUS WILL NOT: UNREWARDED GENIUS IS ALMOST A PROVERB. EDUCATION ALONE WILL NOT: THE WORLD IS FULL OF EDUCATED DERELICTS. PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION ALONE ARE OMNIPOTENT. I read it several times before I grasped the full meaning.’
[quote] Grant Morrison, Animal Man: ‘What’ll it be next? Choice extracts from the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations? Trotting out the Nietzsche and the Shelley to dignify some old costumed claptrap? Probably.’
[quote] Tony Soprano: ‘Uncle June and I, we had our problems, with the business. But I never should’ve razzed him about eating pussy; this whole war could’ve been averted. Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this.’
[quote] Alistair Cooke: ‘Last Tuesday night, for the first time in thirty years, I found myself by one casual chance in a thousand, on hand in a small, narrow serving pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, a place that I suppose will never be wiped out of my memory: a sinister alley, a Roman circus run amok, and a charnel house. It would be quite false to say, as I should truly like to say, that I’m sorry I was there. It’s more complicated than that…’ [thanks Graybo]
[post] September 11th. 2001 … (suggested by Tom)

Metafilter Posting on 911

[quote] Dr. Evil’s Childhood: ‘Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian woman named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it’s breathtaking, I suggest you try it.’
5 March 2004
[quote] Robert McKee in Adaptation: ‘Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There’s genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ’s sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can’t find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don’t know crap about life. And why the FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don’t have any use for it. I don’t have any bloody use for it.’
6 March 2004
[tea] A Nice Cup of Tea — George Orwell’s guide to making a cup of tea. ‘…one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.’
7 March 2004
[tea] Douglas Adam’s Guide to making a good cup of tea‘The socially correct way of pouring tea is to put the milk in after the tea. Social correctness has traditionally had nothing whatever to do with reason, logic or physics. In fact, in England it is generally considered socially incorrect to know stuff or think about things. It’s worth bearing this in mind when visiting.’ [thanks Stu]
8 March 2004
[film] Making History — interview with Errol Morris about his documentary The Fog of War on Robert McNamara‘I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I don’t believe in conspiracies. People are far too confused, too much at cross-purposes with themselves, too argumentative, too nutso ever effectively to conspire to do anything. Maybe they manage to pull it off for a limited amount of time, but not on some mass scale, like deceiving the entire world. What scares me more, and it’s at the heart of the movie, at the heart of this particular story, is not that we make this plan to lie, to deceive, but that we somehow convince ourselves of our own rectitude, our own correctness, our own rightness, no matter what the evidence to the contrary. Humans love nonsense, they lap it up. Ultimately, we’re just big baboons!’ [Related: Fog of War Trailer]
[tv] Married to the Mob — preview of Sopranos Series 5. ‘…if season five has an overall design, it is that of things falling apart, and there is every indication, particularly as episode four draws to a close – on a devastating shot of Carmela entering the house that has become the most iconic television manor since Southfork – that Chase will now tackle the subjects of separation and perhaps divorce with the same uncommon understanding he brought, in previous seasons, to our collective fear of psychiatry, the perils of raising children and the long shadows cast by parents. Where this will all lead is anybody’s guess.’
9 March 2004
[comics] Illustrating the Imagination — Apple profiles Dave McKean. On Superheroes: ‘The problem with the “Supermans” and “Batmans” is that they really work best when they’re very, very simple and when they’re done by people who loved them as kids and want to recreate that naiveté. But I don’t have those feelings for them at all. I had a go at doing something different with Batman but as soon as you start trying to give these characters any kind of complexity or come at them from any other angle, their foundations are so weak that they all kind of collapse. It’s a really horrible calamity of form and content.’ [via blackbeltjones]
[passwords] — avoid web registrations on sites like the NY Times. [via]
[google] Googlemaniacs — some great quotes about Google from notable users …

Garry Trudeau: ‘Google is my rapid-response research assistant. On the run-up to a deadline, I may use it to check the spelling of a foreign name, to acquire an image of a particular piece of military hardware, to find the exact quote of a public figure, check a stat, translate a phrase, or research the background of a particular corporation. It’s the Swiss Army knife of information retrieval.’

10 March 2004
[bdj] The Web Diary, the Book Deal and the very Happy Hooker [Password] — major article in the Times covering Belle De Jour’s Book Deal and the questions about authenticity and identity which surround the Blog … ‘So what does Belle look like? “It was simply nice to see that she wasn’t Toby Young,” jokes her editor Helen Garnons-Williams, relating their first meeting.’
11 March 2004
[politics] Playing with Pretty-Straight-Kinda-Guy Bat — another Simon Hoggart Parliamentary Sketch. On Anne Widdecombe: ‘…the fascination for us came from watching Ms Widdecombe while [Tony Blair] failed to answer her question. Her brain appeared to lose all motor control over her body. Head, arms and legs began to fly off in wildly different directions, like a marionette manipulated by four drunken puppeteers. Weird growlings, rumblings and squeaks started to emerge. They became louder and more alarming. Imagine you were at a traction engine rally and the engine running towards you started to shake and shudder, while steam hissed out of the boiler. Suddenly the driver leaps off the seat and yells: “Save yourselves! It’s too late for me!” The Speaker had to interrupt, in the interests of public safety. “When you ask a question, it is polite to get the answer – even if you consider it not to be an answer.” This is the equivalent of fire safety officers dowsing her with foam.’
12 March 2004
[comics] 5 Questions for Alan Moore — another Q&A from ADD Blog… Moore on Writing Voice Of the Fire: ‘As it happened, quite eerily, there were a number of events that more than satisfied the various things that I needed to finish the novel satisfyingly, you know, things like severed heads and big black dogs, often in conjunction with each other. So, it was very eerie at times, not just surprising, but incredibly eerie. There are moments during a writer’s life, especially if he or she is dealing with something very close to home, if it’s getting a bit self-referential, that sometimes the borderlines between fiction and your actual reality can get dangerously blurred and, yeah, that happened more than once during the course of Voice Of The Fire.’
13 March 2004
[music] They Shoot, He Scores — great interview with film composer Ennio Morricone. On Creativity: ‘I simply want to carry on expressing my ideas. Other people see the moment of creativity as magical, but it is not. That’s just a romantic notion. For me, it’s simply, “I have to get from A to B. How am I going to achieve this?” You have to be like the painter who knows his brush strokes. In the end it comes down to technique and experience. Sometimes a small idea will come without warning, but after that, I insist once more upon craft. If you know how to do your job, you will get a result. It’s very simple.’
14 March 2004
[comics] John Byrne on Grant Morrison and Alan Moore: ‘I get no sense from [Grant] Morrison’s work that he has any “love for the genre”. I get the same vibe I get from [Alan] Moore — a cold and calculated mixing of ingredients the writer knows the fans like, but to which the writer himself has no eviceral connection. Nostalgia without being nostalgic, as I have dubbed it.’ [via ADD]
15 March 2004
[bdj] Who is ‘Belle de Jour’, the high-class Hooker whose Web Diary is set to be a Literary Sensation? — the Sunday Times suggests that Belle de Jour maybe writer Christopher Hart.

scan of belle de jour headline from Sunday Times

‘…vague echoes and coincidences? Perhaps. But there are links between Belle’s blog and the real Hart, too. Early on in the blog Belle hangs out in the Blue Posts, a pub in Soho. It happens to be just round the corner from The Erotic Review, with which Walsh has of late been keeping in close contact, according to some sources.’
16 March 2004
[bogs] “Recent Posts” Sidebar Code for Blogger — how to add a sidebar with Recent Posts to Blogger Blogs … ‘This is a strange story. At about 3:00 this morning I awoke with a headache and heartburn. Normally, my first instinct would be to stroll into the bathroom, prepare an Alka-Seltzer, and go back to sleep. Not last night, I woke up and I had a wild idea about blogging…’
17 March 2004
[books] Digital Utopia and its Flaws — Cory Doctorow interview by R. U. Sirius… ‘I think that we all have urges toward deviance in some ways. I mean, not in the kind of leather-and-chains sense but in the traditional sociological sense … being a little bit weird. I think the only reason in fact that it mostly appears that we’re all doing the same thing is because we don’t look hard enough. We have the assumption that all the people in the nightclub dancing to the band are all doing the same thing. But I think when you look closely you find that there are all kinds of differences. I think that every single one of us is an edge case.’
18 March 2004
[comics] The Reluctant Hero — another interview with Alan Moore‘Put together by Paul Gravett, an internationally renowned expert on comic-book art (he also curated last year’s Comica festival at the ICA), the exhibition features a mass of original, rare or never-seen-before art created for Alan Moore works over the last 25 years, as well as previewing The Mindscape of Alan Moore, an 80-minute documentary on the writer. “It’s an enormous honour,” Moore says of the show. “Even if it makes me feel like I’m almost dead.”‘
[bdj] Internet Call-Girl Unmasked — the Times unmasks Belle de Jour. … ‘Don Foster, America’s foremost literary sleuth, identified quirks in Belle’s text, such as the way she uses brackets, dashes, compound verbs and italics. He entered this information into Google, the internet search engine, and within 20 minutes found that Miss Champion was the only person who matched the linguistic fingerprint. “While no piece of evidence is conclusive by itself, I’m sure we have found our woman,” he said.’
19 March 2004
[bdj] Picture of Sarah Champion (outed yesterday as Belle De Jour) found on Andrew Orlowski’s website. Doesn’t it seem a little suspicious that the biggest critic of blogging at the very least worked with Sarah Champion in the past and they are both currently based in San Francisco? [thanks Rachel!]

» Orlowski on Badpress: ‘How I became a journalist. Scandalsheet started in 1992 with Sarah Champion. The first issue (150) was printed in 24 hours. Sarah has no recollection of this night.’

» Orlowski’s Byline in the Register: ‘Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco’

» Sarah Champion’s Location: ‘Last night Ms Champion, who is currently living with her boyfriend in California, did not deny that she was the woman behind Belle. “I’m in San Francisco at the moment… to hide,” she said, laughing.’

20 March 2004
[bdj] Who is the real Belle de Jour, the internet’s best-read whore? — The Independent suggests that Andrew Orlowski is Belle De Jour. ‘…as soon as one name appeared to slip from the frame, another one sprang up to replace it. The new contender is Andrew Orlowski, who grew up on the opposite side of the Pennines to Ms Champion, but with whom she collaborated on a number of minor publications in the early years of the last decade. Described in some quarters as a “cult figure”, Mr Orlowski has a record of cultured sex writing on the internet. Yesterday, however, he was not taking any calls.’

» Of Course Belle Was Faking It. That’s What Sex – And Cyberspace – Are All About — Jeanette Winterson on BdJ … ‘Belle is a natural-born blogger; her style is witty and compact, with the right mixture of intimacy and disassociation. We feel we know her, yet we don’t know her at all – doubly so, if she turns out to be a fake.’

» Tom Coates on BdJ‘Can we really be so shocked and startled by the idea that one of the enormous number of prostitutes in the world has decided to write a weblog? Certainly it’s worth a read. She seems like a nice, sorted, intelligent person.’

21 March 2004
[bdj] I was Branded a Call-Girl Blogger — Sarah Champion on what it’s Like to be mistaken for Belle de Jour‘Ever since I found myself described as a ‘wild child’ in a local paper as a teenager, I dreaded that one day I would wake up to find paparazzi outside my door. Since then I’ve published a book of ecstasy drug stories in the wake of Leah Betts’s death, briefly dated a well-known TV comedian and shared a spliff with a former member of the Beatles. But it never once occurred to me that what would finally bring the paparazzi to my door would be my use of commas.’
22 March 2004
[comics] Alan Moore’s memorial for Julie Schwartz: ‘And now we hear that Julie has been… discontinued? Cancelled? But they said the same about Green Lantern and the Flash back in the early ‘fifties, so we can’t be certain. This is comics. There’ll be some way around it, be some parallel world Earth-Four Julie, born thirty years later to account for problems in the continuity, and decked out in a jazzier, more streamlined outfit.’ [via Neilalien]
[bdj] Did Register staffer mastermind ‘call-girl weblog’ conspiracy? — the Register responds to the allegation that Andrew Orlowski is BdJ. Orlowski: I’m shocked. To be accused of being a whore is one thing, but to be accused of being a weblogger is actionable.’
23 March 2004
[macs] Douglas Adams’s Mac IIfx — vintage Mac collector finds a Mac IIfx which used to belong to DNA‘I popped an ethernet card in the IIfx, mounted an AppleShare volume and ran Norton Utilities to recover the files onto the server. The results? I recovered hundreds of documents relating to Jane Belson’s professional work and precisely two that bear the hand of Douglas Adams. I doubt whether the copyright lawyers would chase me for publishing his Idiots Guide to using a Mac but you wouldn’t be thanking me either. For now at least, the draft of a TV sketch called Brief Re-encounter is strictly for my personal enjoyment.’
25 March 2004
[comics] 5 Questions for Peter Bagge — another Q&A from ADD‘I’m pleased to see that comics are making inroads in books stores via the graphic novel route, I’m very upset at the shrinking demand for the traditional comic book format, which is by far my favorite medium to work in.’
[bdj] Belle Doesn’t Ring True — the Guardian rolls out Cynthia Payne to analyse BdJ‘I think this is filth, and I certainly don’t want to be associated with it. I was never involved in anything like this. In my day, we did it the proper way – £25 without extras, food and drink, and a choice of ladies. We knocked off £5 for old age pensioners and we charged men half-price if they were past it, and just fancied watching. We had a high-class clientèle – no rowdy kids, no yobs, all well-dressed men in suits, who knew how to respect a lady.’
26 March 2004
[comics] List of “Holy —, Batman!” uttered by Robin — from the Batman TV Series … ‘Holy Astringent pomite fruit!’ [via Neilalien]
[politics] Tom Watson: ‘One last thing. Intervening on Ken Clarke is as scary as you imagine.’
28 March 2004
[bdj] ‘I am a young woman. I have sex for money. And I love to write. This is my story…’ — BdJ wrote a five page article for the Sunday Telegraph Magazine …

quick scan of text from BdJ's Sunday Telegraph Magazine Article

» Don Foster in the Observer’s Letters: ‘Never have I said, either on or off the record, that Belle’s identity has been established by anything I ever said or contributed. I made perfectly clear, in a series of telephone conversations and email exchanges with the Times, of which I have a complete record, that Champion is a person of interest. Contrary to what the Times has reported, I do not believe that the search for Belle is over.’

» Sarah Champion’s Belle De Jour Page — links and scans of articles.

» “Belle de Jour” and literary forensics — more analysis of the text of BdJ. ‘…literary forensics is harder than it looks. It’s the practice of determining authorship from quirks, styles, idiosyncrasies, etc. I’ve played around with it, and been wrong. My speculations, which again, might certainly be wrong: 1) The “Belle de Jour” blog is a fake, written by at least two people, one starting it, then another taking over later. 2) At least the second person, the one who took over, is a journalist. I’m more certain of #1 than #2.’

» Belle De Jour: Diary of a London Call Girl by Anonymous at

30 March 2004
[film] Citizen Kubrick — Jon Ronson explores Stanley Kubrick’s Archive … ‘Tony takes me into a large room painted blue and filled with books. “This used to be the cinema,” he says. “Is it the library now?” I ask. “Look closer at the books,” says Tony. I do. “Bloody hell,” I say. “Every book in this room is about Napoleon!” “Look in the drawers,” says Tony. I do. “It’s all about Napoleon, too!” I say. “Everything in here is about Napoleon!” I feel a little like Shelley Duvall in The Shining, chancing upon her husband’s novel and finding it is comprised entirely of the line “All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy” typed over and over again.’
[tv] Kenneth Williams Quote from Neil Gaiman‘”I’m a cult,” Kenneth Williams said to me, in 1985. “I’m an enormous cult. People stop in the street and point to me and say look, it’s that cult from the television.”‘